When talking about the juvenile court process in California, it is often said that the juvenile court system is quite complex. In many ways it is unlike the adult criminal justice system, for instance, there is no bail in juvenile court. Also, the juvenile system is more focused on rehabilitation than incarceration; the goal is to provide the misled youth with strong guidance and help him become a better person rather than punishing him. However, the legal rights of juvenile offenders are the same as adults. They have the right to legal defense as well as to disclosure of criminal charges, but the juvenile system does not have jury trials and the case is decided entirely by the judge.
A minor who’s been arrested and taken into custody will have to be taken to juvenile court within 48 hours. While the prosecutor may try to seek harsh legal penalties, juvenile attorney in Los Angeles will attempt to release the child at the detention hearing where the judge will decide on releasing the child or keeping him in custody. Judge’s decision depends on factors like flight risk, nature of the crime and prior criminal history. Most important, part of the juvenile court process is a fitness hearing.
When the minor is accused of a California Welfare and Institution Code 707(b) offense, the prosecutor can request a fitness hearing where the judge will examine a few factors and will decide whether a minor is fit for juvenile court or he should be tried as an adult.
There are certain crimes listed under California Welfare and Institution Code 707(b) that automatically get tried in adult court, these offenses include:
- Murder with special circumstances
- Rape with force, violence or threat of great bodily harm
- Arson causing great bodily injury
- Forcible sexual penetration
- Lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 with force
- Sodomy or oral copulation by force
- A felony offense when the minor used a weapon
- A violent felony crime of street gang sentencing enhancement
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Attempted murder
- Assault with a firearm
- Discharging a firearm into an occupied building
But, the crimes commonly committed by minors include:
- Theft crimes
- Consumption of alcohol
- Driving under the influence
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Solicitation of prostitution
- Murder and attempted murder
- Marijuana possession
- Drug possession, drug sales and transportation
- Gang crimes
- Vandalism and graffiti
- Gun possession
- Sex crimes
It is up to prosecutors as to how they want to handle the 707(b) offenses; they can either request a fitness hearing and let the judge decide or file it directly in the adult court.
Why hire juvenile attorney in Los Angeles?
The first and foremost reason you should hire a juvenile defense attorney in Los Angeles is because the criminal charges can have serious and long lasting consequences for a minor and only a skilled and experienced attorney can come up with a positive outcome in the juvenile court. Besides, there could also be negative impact on college admission, job prospects and in some cases even prison; all of this can be foreseen by an experienced juvenile defense attorney who can take charge of the things and guide the minor accordingly. Moreover, in juvenile cases, the judge is open to negotiation and leniency which is why hiring the right attorney can help your child mitigate the effects of criminal charges. Having said this, the best you can do for your child is to hire a veteran like C. Robert Brooks, who will closely examine your case and will come up with the best legal options. If your child is charged with a crime, Mr. Brooks will make every effort to help your child receive rehabilitation rather than incarceration.
Contact our office immediately for a free consultation. Call (310) 994-7989 or visit visit our website now.